Saturday January 26th 2019

Bob Smith NDB, Medway BKA 
Lecture Subject: Comb Change

Bob is a very experienced beekeeper and an excellent speaker. 

He runs a variety of training events in Kent and elsewhere for local and national beekeeping groups. In particular, he is the coorrdinator for the “Beekeepers @ KSRC” initiative, which aims to provide training and educational opportunities for Improver Beekeepers. See www.krscbees.org.uk

Bob has been keeping bees since the mid ’70’s, currently managing 8 colonies on 2 very different sites. He was a Seasonal Bee Inspector for 6 years, is a holder of the NDB and a member of the Medway Beekeepers Association. 

We never stop learning when we keep bees; Bob’s science background had led to a series of experiments with the bees, from foraging patterns via pollen analysis to experiments with double (14×12) brood boxes and most recently, a Kent-wide citizen science project investigating the extent to which drones drift between colonies and apiaries. 

The Venue:

Ruxley Manor, Annex to Mulberry Tree Restaurant

Maidstone Road
DA14 65BQ


Regular changing of the brood comb is generally regarded as desirable and several systems are available to achieve it. This talk will take a look at the Bailey Comb change, the shook swarm and double brood systems, trying to highlight the pros and cons of the several approaches.

Entry: £5.00 pp.


2:00 – Welcome Guests

2:30 – 3:30 – Lecture by Bob Smith

3:30 – 4:30 – Questions and Answers, Break

4:00 – Afternoon Teas, provided by Ruxley Manor

5:00 – End

Saturday February 23rd 2019

2:00 for 2:30pm start, Saturday 23rd February 2019

Orpington Village Hall, 311 High Street, Orpington, BR6 0NN

Dr Seirian Sumner – Reader in Behavioural Biology, UCL

Lecture Subject: Wasps – the neglected darlings of the insect world.

Dr Seirian Sumner is the country’s top wasp expert. Her talks are a delightful mix of fascinating facts, amusing graphics and stunning science and here is her take on the subject of her lecture:

Wasps – why nobody loves them?

Everyone loves bees: they’re cute, cuddly and provide a pollination service that our health and happiness depends on.

Everyone is awe-struck by ants, with their underground cities, exquisite morphologies and behaviours, and a communication system that puts the internet to shame.

No-one loves wasps, the maligned gangster of the insect world.

My mission is to make you think differently about the insects that you fight over jam sandwiches. There are 100 times more species of wasp than there are ants and bees combined, and their populations are declining at rates faster than bees; without wasps, your garden would be swamped in insect pests and spiders; some wasps even pollinate flowers and make honey; we might even have wasps to thank for the invention of paper…

But the main reason that I love wasps is because of their extraordinary social behaviours, many of which share uncanny parallels with our own societies. Monarchies, rebellions, ASBOs and wasp police, undertakers, negotiators, welfare wasps, menopausal wasps, and wasps with aspirations above their station: I will take you on a journey through the world of wasps, from their genes to their societies, to unravel their secrets to sociality. Finally, I will review the evidence to date on the ecological and economic importance of these diverse, unloved creatures. Perhaps you won’t fall in love with wasps today, but I can guarantee you’ll see them in a very different light tomorrow.


Then after a comfort break, Seirian’s husband –

3:30 Saturday 23rd February 2019 Orpington Village Hall

Dr Nick Isaac – Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Lecture Subject: Where have all the pollinators gone?

Nick is a senior ecologist who studies how biodiversity is distributed, how it is changing over time, and how we measure it.

4:15 His talk will be followed by teas, coffees and cakes.

Entry: £5 at the door. Under 18 free.

Parking: 3 hours free in Tesco, across the road, or in several car parks behind the Village Hall.